“The cat loves you more than I do?” My daughter and I were in the car on the way home from school and in the middle of a heated conversation about how I, her mother, chose to spend my time when she wasn’t there. She was lamenting about how unfair it was that I had gone on a field trip with her older brother without her! Nevermind the fact that she couldn’t have gone if she wanted to since she had her own school to go to. How dare we have any type of fun without her. She proceeded to inform me that the cat did in fact love her more than I do because the cat spends more time with her than I do. This was proven by the fact that the cat sleeps with her every night which is equal to hours of quality time.
“So, you think the cat loves you more than I do?” Exasperated sigh followed by a biting response. “More than a parent who does not want to spend time with her child.” Ouch. I better watch out for this girl. At seven years old she already knows how to turn words into knives and she isn’t afraid to use them. But I wasn’t too perturbed by her accusation. For every field trip or activity I’ve attended with one of her brothers I’ve done something with her as well. I reminded her of Girl Scouts, dance, and the other activities we’ve participated in over the last few weeks. “But that wasn’t just you and me!” Neither was her brother’s field trip but that was beside the point. Once again though I wasn’t biting because we are in the month of February and this is where all of my free time goes to die.
February for our family combines the usual amount of craziness that we normally experience plus birthdays, school programs, days off from school, and then of course the highly anticipated Girl Scout cookie sale. If ever there was a time suck this is it. Quality time with family? Please! I’m spending my weekends running cookie booths and walking around neighborhoods. It’s not quite the horror that is Boy Scout popcorn sales (don’t get me started on that) but it can be all consuming. And if all of that wasn’t enough, for some horrible reason right smack dab in the middle of the month we load all of the kids up with enough sweets it should put them into a conversation heart sugar coma but instead turns them into raging sugar-aholics with sticky fingers and red tongues. All in the name of love of course.
So, no. I’m not going to feel guilty about not spending enough time with my children during the month of February. I’m hanging on by a thread here. I did suggest to my daughter that if she would like to spend some more “quality time” together-just her and me- we could cut out some of those other activities that just aren’t meeting her qualifications. “We don’t have to do girl scouts next year you know. Think about how much time that would save.” Her response? “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” “Wait, what? You were just furious at me and now you are done talking? I think we should finish this conversation. I don’t think you were really being fair to me.” “Mom! It’s fine. I get it. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Right…
I suppose that was the closest I was going to get to her ceding my point but that’s fine because it looks like I’m off the hook…for now. In the meantime though she’s got the cat and if the cat can achieve during the night what I am failing to do during the day perhaps it’s time we adopted another.